June 12, 2011

Company plans more Blockbuster kiosks

Blockbuster Express: ncr corp who licenses the bb name for its blockbuster express kiosks ...

NCR Corp. plans to continue to add Blockbuster Express video-rental kiosks in Arizona and other states despite the uncertain future of traditional Blockbuster locations and legal challenges to its use of the name.

Formerly known as the National Cash Register Co., NCR is now a leading maker of point-of-sale terminals, ATMs and bar-code scanners.

The company signed a licensing agreement in 2009 with video-rental chain Blockbuster allowing NCR to open thousands of self-service video-rental kiosks under the Blockbuster Express name.

The kiosks were Blockbuster's answer, albeit late, to the thousands of video-rental kiosks that had been opened by Redbox.

The Redbox kiosks, plus online video rentals from Amazon, Apple and others, contributed to financial problems at Blockbuster that led to widespread store closures and an eventual Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In April, satellite television provider DISH Network Corp. bought Blockbuster out of bankruptcy for $320 million. The deal included 1,700 Blockbuster locations, 1,200 of which Dish Network said it likely would close.

At its peak, Blockbuster had 5,000 stores worldwide, including about 200 in Arizona. There are now fewer than 50 Blockbuster stores in Arizona.

DISH Network has sued NCR to stop it from using the Blockbuster name. NCR contends that it has the rights to use the name until 2016 and that that deal was unaffected by Blockbuster's bankruptcy.

Justin Hotard, vice president of NCR's entertainment business, which includes Blockbuster Express, said the company had developed its own agreements with movie studios and other content providers and intended to continue to grow its network of kiosks despite the dispute with Blockbuster's new owners.

Blockbuster Express now has about 9,000 kiosks open across the country, including more than 400 in Arizona. That compares with Redbox's 27,000 outlets nationwide, including about 1,000 in Arizona.

In Arizona, Blockbuster Express kiosks are at supermarkets and convenience stores, among other locations.

Hotard said NCR planned to open 1,500 new Blockbuster Express locations this year, including numerous sites in Arizona.

by Max Jarman The Arizona Republic Jun. 11, 2011 12:00 AM

Company plans more Blockbuster kiosks

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